As we delve more into new technologies here at Pathways Training and eLearning, specifically in the 360 video field, we have come to several conclusions that I would like to share in the following paragraphs, hoping that any other team adventuring in this field may find them useful.
Let’s start by talking about the minimum equipment you would need to develop your own 360 videos. Of course, the camera (or cameras) is the first thing you would need to acquire in order to start producing your videos. From our research, we have come to the conclusion that there are quite a few options available on the market, varying in price and the setup of the camera(s).
One option we saw, was a rig of at least 6 GoPro cameras that are setup to cover all 360 degrees in all 3 axes, which gives you the advantage of recording video in Super HD quality, but it also increases the price by at least 10 times over what other 360 cameras cost. From a personal opinion perspective, I would say this option is recommended if you are into extreme sports.
Another option is to get yourself a 360 camera, like the Ricoh Theta or the Samsung Gear 360 Video camera. While the quality of video is significantly lower compared to the GoPro cameras (Still, the output on these cameras is 1080p, which is HD), the cost is also significantly lower, which makes these cameras a very good option to start getting your team into 360 video development for eLearning or training initiatives.
In my opinion, this is where all the magic happens and it has 2 stages, that we have identified in our workflow:
Editing: In this stage, you convert the raw footage into a usable asset for the interaction software, but to do so, you must first, stitch the videos together if you used separate cameras or, if you used a 360 camera like the Ricoh Theta, you can skip ahead to the next step on this stage which is actually editing the video, colour correcting it, adding graphics and/or titles. All of this can be achieved in editing or compositing software like After Effects.
Adding interactions: The second and last stage in the usage of software for producing 360 videos, is to add interactions to your videos either by using plain HTML5 and WebGL (which is honestly very complicated), or to use an authoring tool like Wonda VR, to add hotspots, clickable areas to show different kinds of information, or to connect different 360 videos. I would personally recommend using an authoring tool to minimize costs and use your time better for developing your first 360 video projects.
If you want to know more about 360 videos for eLearning and training, and our own experiences while researching this field, make sure to check our blog posts and website!